How Much Does a Digital Mailroom Cost?
Cost savings are a top priority for organizations in today’s uncertain economic times.
One way that organizations can reduce their costs is to modernize the way they handle incoming mail and documents and deploy a digital mailroom solution. Digital mailroom solutions automate and simplify the processing, sorting, routing, and archival of the paper and electronic applications, contracts, invoices, sales orders, correspondence, and other documents that an organization receives.
Businesses can save an average of $10,000 per year per mailroom employee by automating their mailroom processes, a study by IDC found. What’s more, businesses can save an average of $5 per square foot by storing their documents electronically, according to Nuance Communications.
This article explores the cost of a digital mailroom solution compared to a paper-based mailroom.
What are the costs associated with a digital mailroom?
The cost of implementing a digital mailroom solution can vary depending on the size of the organization, the breadth of its operations, and complexity of the documents that it receives.
But here are some common costs when implementing a digital mailroom solution:
- Software. Users can expect to pay a fee to use a digital mailroom solution. Some solutions providers charge a license fee to use their digital mailroom solution while others allow users to pay-as-they-go. Be sure to ask whether the fee varies based on the number users. And investigate any additional costs you will need to pay as your organization’s volume grows.
- Capture fees. Digital mailroom solutions use optical character recognition (OCR), barcode recognition, and artificial intelligence (AI) to extract the data from incoming mail and documents. Ask whether there are any additional costs associated with using these services.
- Hardware. Users will need scanners to convert physical mail and documents into digital images. Be sure to investigate the scalability and reliability of any scanners that you consider. And remember to factor in the cost of labor to operate the scanners into business case, so you’re not caught by surprise by swelling labor expenses as your volumes grow.
- Implementation. Users might be required to pay set up fees to deploy, configure and integrate a digital mailroom solution into their back-office environment. In some cases, integration costs may vary, depending on the complexity of your existing infrastructure.
- Customization. Ask prospective technology providers early on about any development costs for specific customizations or additional features tailored to your organization’s needs.
- Training. Some digital mailroom solutions charge fees to train staff in the technology. Investigate whether staff can be trained remotely, and how new staff will be trained.
- Cloud hosting. Digital mailroom solutions archive images and data in a centralized archive for instant accessibility. Determine whether prospective digital mailroom solutions providers charge fees based on the amount of content that your organization stores in the cloud.
These considerations will help ensure that you understand the true cost of a digital mailroom.
Costs of a digital mailroom versus the costs of a paper mailroom
Organizations can save a lot of money by digitizing their handling of incoming mail and documents. Here’s how the costs of a digital mailroom stack up against the costs of a paper-based mailroom.
- Labor. Sorting, routing, filing, and tracking down paper documents can bog back-office staff down. And the inefficiencies and wasted time only grow as an organization gets bigger. Digital mailroom solutions eliminate manual, repetitive tasks such as keying data, shuffling emails and paper, and fixing errors and mistakes. And digital mailroom solutions make it possible for an organization to scale its operations without the need to hire additional staff.
- Delays. Physically routing documents is a slow and error-prone process. Back-office staff must determine who should receive a document. Documents can become lost, misfiled, or damaged. Receivers may be working remotely and unable to access physical documents on their desk. Important documents may be at the bottom of an inbox. And managers can never be sure where things stand in the process. Routing documents electronically eliminates the friction that delays decision-making, frustrates stakeholders, and causes lots of rework.
- Storage. In a paper-based mailroom, organizations will incur rent, utilities, maintenance, and other ongoing expenses to physically store documents in filing cabinets or dedicated rooms. A digital mailroom eliminates the costs of physical storage by archiving content in the cloud. And there’s hardly any chance that digital documents will be misplaced, misfiled, or stolen.
- Consumables. Paper-based mailrooms use a lot of paper, envelopes, ink, printer toner, and other consumables. A digital mailroom solution eliminates the need for paper and printing.
- Postage. Postage and courier fees add up fast in a paper-based environment, especially for organizations with geographically dispersed operations or teams that work remotely. Digital mailroom solutions electronically route documents to the right individual or department.
- Control. Organizations invest big bucks in surveillance systems, access controls, and other measures to help protect sensitive paper documents. The user permissions, audit tracking, segregation of duties and other controls built into digital mailroom solutions safeguard information without being dependent on physical security infrastructure.
These are some of the ways that digital mailroom solutions help organizations reduce costs.
How to maximize your cost savings from a digital mailroom
Choosing the right digital mailroom solution is critical to ensuring that your organization achieves the optimal cost savings as it migrates from a paper-based mailroom environment.
Here are some key considerations when evaluating digital mailroom solutions.
- Assess your needs. Ensure that prospective digital mailroom solutions are a good fit for your organization by understanding your volume of incoming mail, the types of documents you handle, the information that must be captured from different documents, your document routing requirements, and the systems the digital mailroom solution must integrate with.
- Scalability. Assess how well prospective digital mailroom solutions can accommodate increased mail volume and additional functional requirements without major disruptions.
- Integration. Be sure that each digital mailroom solution can integrate with your existing systems. Pay careful attention to the integration with your enterprise resource planning application, customer relationship management system, and document management software. Smooth integration ensures a more efficient and cohesive workflow across your organization.
- Security. Ensure that each digital mailroom solution adheres to industry-standard security protocols and complies with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other relevant regulations to protect sensitive data and maintain customer privacy.
- Ease of use. Look for digital mailroom solutions with a user-friendly interface that simplifies navigation and makes it easy for employees to learn and use the system effectively.
- Automation. Give extra weight to solutions that use advanced technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) to integrate systems without the need for computer programming, machine learning to deliver better results over time, and high-speed document scanners that can process different documents co-mingled and extract the data from documents in-line.
- Track record. Your organization has too much riding on its enterprise data to trust its incoming mail and documents to a fly-by-night technology provider. Look for a digital mailroom solutions provider with a long track record in intelligent information management. Ask each vendor for references that can speak to their experience in document automation.
These considerations will help ensure that you choose a digital mailroom solution that helps you achieve significant cost savings compared to a paper-based mailroom environment.
Transitioning from a paper-based mailroom to a digital mailroom is a strategic investment that can deliver significant cost savings. By improving staff productivity, eliminating physical document storage, reducing paper-related consumables, and mitigating the risk of fraud and compliance issues, organizations can reallocate resources towards growth-generating activities. With the considerations in this article, an organization can achieve optimum cost savings from a digital mailroom.